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GRAMMYS: BLACK LIVES MATTER; WHITE ONES MATTER, AND WIN, MORE


It's not exactly Fromelles, or even the streets of Ferguson where one of many black men was shot by the police. Though the shots of a political war could be heard throughout the Grammy Awards as artists such as Beyonce took mostly subtle aim at President Trump, in her case with with reminders that her black consciousness album, Lemonade, made to "confront issues that make us uncomfortable", was intended to show her children they should be able to look at the Grammys, the Super Bowl and the White House and "see themselves".

However, among the crates carrying home the awards for megastars Adele and, to a much lesser extent, Beyonce, there was a little corner of the room at the Grammys which was forever, or at least for a year, Australian.

Sydney's Harley Streten, or Flume, winner of the best dance/electronic album prize for his second record, Skin, won his first but likely not his last Grammy. In less stellar news, Streten was the only local to win an award on a night which had teased with possibilities.

Fellow Australians Keith Urban, beaten by the alternative country star Sturgill Simpson, and Sia, beaten by among others Justin Timberlake, were not so lucky. Meanwhile, Streten can add the Grammy to his swag of ARIAs and the top song on triple j's hottest 100 this year.

Out of the firing line 13 months after his death, but posthumously awarded for conspicuous quality, was David Bowie who won the seemingly contradictory prizes of best rock song and best alternative music album for Blackstar, and added best rock performance for good measure.

In a ceremony plagued by technical issues such a microphone failing during Metallica and Lady Gaga's unlikely but entertaining duet of Moth Into Flame, uneven tributes to the fallen such as Prince and David Bowie, and Adele restarting her performance of George Michael's Fastlove due to unhappiness with something or other – "I'm sorry but I can't mess this up for him," she said before swearing - there were moments that might earn repeat plays in the future.

Among them was a display of regal brilliance by Beyonce even before she won a Grammy, performing two songs from her heavily nominated, classic-in-the-making album Lemonade, heavily pregnant, with a cast of dancers, and in an outfit part Michael Jackson and part Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra.

Still, the night belonged to someone whose flashiness was mostly in shiny trophies, Adele. The Englishwoman may have had "issues" in her performance but she continued her winning run at the Grammys in the face of the expected Beyonce wave that in the end earned the American megastar only two wins from nine nominations.

As one of the writers of Hello, Adele won song of the year, and added best pop solo performance for that song and then topped that with record of the year, which is awarded to the performer rather than the songwriter, for Hello.

The multi-platinum album which spawned, Hello, the numerically gifted 25, was named best pop vocal album and also album of the year for a kind of quinfecta, a word which may not exist yet but may need to be to deal with Adele's phenomenal success.

In a final note of classiness, when collecting her trophy for album of the year, Adele spoke glowingly of Lemonade, how she had seen "the way you make my black friends feel is empowering" with that album and later admitted that as a member of the voting academy she had voted for Lemonade.

Of course, a black woman winning album of the year for a record that was almost universally regarded as a landmark might be even more empowering. But that's a future battle, maybe one that the Beyonce twins will win one day.

#Beyonce #Grammys #Adele #Flume #KeithUrban

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